Why do I call myself a running mom? Well, seems I’ve always been running, mostly away from things. As a middle child in a very competitive set of six kids, I often felt left out or forgotten. So I’d temporarily runaway. OK, I hid away from everybody else and took off to daydream. As a result, I developed a drive to be independent and different from everyone else in my family.
I hated the used bike my sister had to share with me, so one Christmas, I saved up all my money to buy my own bike. It was way too little. But I found out that I could buy a unicycle with what I had, so I did. I learned to ride it and became a fixture in my inner city neighborhood as that “kid on a unicycle” running errands.
Being the third girl attending parochial school, I often had the misfortune of being “another one” from that family. So when it came time to pick out a high school, I chose a local one that I could walk to and break away from the sigma of my older sisters. Running again, up the hill to school, and down again every day. I made it through four years without a single tardy slip.
The continuous competition at home drove me to distraction. So during my high school years I ran away from it through school activities, volunteer work and Junior Achievement. I was running away from my life at home.
I tried to run as a sport on my own during high school, but with no instruction, no school team, and neighborhoods I didn’t even like to walk through around me, it didn’t last long. I had injured myself chasing after a bus and pulled my groin muscle badly. At the local junior college I decided to take up weight lifting as a way to rehab it. The coach suggested I try cross-country, so I did. At the time I didn’t know the women’s cross country team needed more members. I just signed up and ran!
I learned how to pick a shoe. I learned about form. I learned to run a seven-minute-mile. OK, I couldn’t run more than five miles, but I learned to run as a sport. I loved it. It didn’t last. When the season was over, I did some paid runs. But in the early 80’s it was all about the competition. I wasn’t fast enough to be competitive. Then again taking two or three busses to and from runs wasn’t easy. Nor was running with my sweats in a pack very comfortable. I never checked my gear out of fear it would disappear. So I ran away from running too.
At age 21, I moved away from home. Just a few blocks for my first apartment, but I was out! I had a job and was independent. Ten years later, I married my long-time boyfriend. Ten years after that and in our third apartment, we finally had our son. To give him a better life than what we could afford in the big city, we moved to Elk Grove. The ultimate runaway! I became a home-mom. Shortly after moving here, I discovered an ad for an inaugural 4th of July run that celebrated the incorporation of my new hometown. I signed up and was instantly reconnected with running.
I joined a running group and got introduced to relay running. Got hooked and continued that for six years. Next I got hooked on distance running. Now I’ve got half a dozen half marathons completed and have my goal set on a full 26.2 mile marathon. I assist with my son’s track team at his school and chase the kids around the field shouting encouragement. I’ve running friends who inspire and motivate me. I run for “me” time where I don’t have to answer to anyone or make any decisions except how far and where I am running.
And my 11-year-old son…he wants to run a half marathon with me before he turns 13. I am a running mom.